Empowering Places? Measuring the impact of community businesses at neighbourhood level

Empowering Places is a programme of place-based investment that aims to demonstrate the role that concentrated clusters of community businesses can play in improving local areas and reducing inequality. To measure the impact of the programme, Power to Change commissioned Kantar in 2020 to conduct six ‘hyperlocal’ extensions of the government's annual Community Life Survey, one in each of the six Empowering Places operational areas across England.

This hyperlocal approach builds on studies carried out by Kantar in 2017, 2018 and 2019 which established a new way of measuring the social impact of community businesses by comparing their performance against carefully matched comparison areas drawn from the national Community Life Survey (Crawshaw et al., 2020). Around 1,000 households were randomly selected within each operational area to take part in the surveys and performance was measured across 39 different areas of potential social impact.

This report uses ‘difference-in-difference’ modelling to compare the 2020 results with equivalent figures from the 2018 surveys. For each operational area, the difference in performance in 2018 (as measured against its counterfactual comparison area) is subtracted from the difference in performance in 2020 (again, as measured against the counterfactual) to produce robust estimates of the overall impact of the Empowering Places programme in that area.